I'm not too sure of where he is going with this piece other than to complain about the breakdown of society, and how that breakdown interferes with learning in the classroom.
This quote crystallizes my problem with Mr. Bottini's view.
''Kids are super-saturated with lessons that education is not the most important thing. It is screamed at them through TV programming, computer games, print material and the mores of the times. This societal message precludes a child developing a yearning for learning and an attitude of gratitude for it.''How about the 'super-saturation' that occurs IN SCHOOL that education is not the most important thing? We have 'international cup stacking,' the 'ride for missing children,' the ironic 'honor teachers and education' assembly, meetings with 'community leaders' at the Stanley, 'Pinwheels for Peace,' and a whole host of excuses to interrupt the learning of core subjects. On top of this there is the problem of pullouts for 'special education' students who have to miss academic work for specialized treatment.
And I can think of nothing that puts a damper on a child's "yearning for learning" more than all the group activities that go on in the classroom. Children want to know about how the world works, and they want to know NOW. Forcing them to work with other kids who they know don't know any more than they do isn't viewed as learning because most of the time is spend getting along.
All these things send the message that education is not the most important thing: The Event of the Day (or the Minute) is more important.
Schools and educators need to clean their own houses first before complaining that "society" is getting in the way of learning. Until schools and teachers resume their traditional roles as distributors of knowledge as opposed to being society's "change agents," nothing will change on the education front.